Off To Kindergarten!

With the current school year coming to an end, I know that parents are feeling excited and anxious about sending their soon to be kindergarteners off to school in the fall. Are they ready? Do they have the right skills?

While many of us focus on the basics of letter and number recognition or reading skills, kindergarten readiness includes more than a few skills. We need to look at the whole child and all of their skills and strengths. That’s what makes them unique! For example, Emily may love books and have excellent reading abilities, but she struggles with a shyness that prevents her from easily making friendships. Adam might be strong socially but still has difficulty holding a pencil correctly. Emma can do both these things, but she can be very silly and get distracted in group settings. Despite these differences, all of these children are ready for school.

Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for Kindergarten:

  • Develop independence at home. Encourage your child to dress themself, take their coat on and off, use the bathroom without help, wash their hands without constant reminders, and put on their shoes. Have your child practice opening their lunchbox and containers. These skills will take them from the hallway to the lunchroom and beyond.
  • Teach responsibility. Start transferring small responsibilities over to your child. After a family trip to the beach, have your child empty the beach bag, put away the water bottles, or hang up their wet bathing suit. Even when it may be easier for you to complete these tasks, let them accept the responsibility.
  • Create routines. Set up morning routines that will transfer into a school setting. Getting up around the same time every day, getting dressed, and having an early breakfast together is a great way to transition to school.
  • Read aloud to your child. Get your child a library card, take them to the library to check out books, and be sure to read to your child every day. Read a variety of books, magazines, even cereal boxes. Just read!

Instead of worrying about whether your child can read and write, think about their skills as a whole. What can they do well that will help them succeed? The quieter child who has reading abilities will find their way to helping a new friend write their name. The wiggly child will find a spot as the classroom helper. Rest assured, they will all navigate kindergarten together.

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Meghan Brtnik

is a classroom teacher on the K-2 team. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Meghan was a substitute teacher at an international baccalaureate school in Toronto and at the Latin School of Chicago. She graduated from York University, Toronto, with a M.Ed. at the primary/junior level and completed an additional qualification course in special education. Meghan earned a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in honors psychology, focusing on the psychological and social foundations in human behavior. In addition, Meghan has worked in a Montessori school, tutored students individually, and lived and worked at an all-girls boarding school.
For fun, Meghan loves traveling, trying out new restaurants, exploring new neighborhoods, swimming, reading, and walking.